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royal chapel, and the king received them into his especial favour. To gain his end, however, Somerset had resorted to the vilest means: finding that sir Thomas Overbury, his chief friend and adviser, would not be made an accomplice in the disgraceful transaction, he contrived to procure his arrest and committal to the Tower, where he supplied him with poisoned food. This crime had for some years escaped detection; but on the king taking George Villiers, son of sir George Villiers, of Brookesby in Leicestershire, into his favour, Somerset behaved with such insolence that the friends of the new favourite determined, if possible, to procure his overthrow. Inquiries brought to light abundant evidence, and the king commissioned chief-justice Coke to prepare a warrant for the arrest of Somerset and his countess. Their guilt was fully proved, but owing to the king's favour, the sentence of death was suspended, and they were permitted to retire into the country with a pension of £4000 a year. Villiers, who had been created duke of Buckingham, now enjoyed the monopoly of the king's favour; he was loaded with honours, the king even venturing to make him lord high admiral, a step which brought the government into great danger, for Buckingham possessed neither the talent nor application requisite in a minister; he was haughty, imprudent, and capricious, wholly given to pleasure, and headstrong in his passions. His love of adventure he carried to such an excess that his life resembles more a romance than sober history. At his instigation, the king sent the prince of Wales, afterwards Charles I., on a visit to Spain, to see the infanta, daughter of Philip IV., who had been recommended as a desirable match for the heir to the English throne. Charles and Buckingham set out from London on the 17th of February, 1623, and travelled through France in disguise: when they arrived at the court of Spain, they were received with every mark of distinction, and Charles had an opportunity of seeing the infanta, to whom he was introduced. But the mere idea of an alliance of the heir of the English throne with a catholic princess, and, above all, to a descendant of Philip II., roused the spirit of every Englishman. The house of commons expressed their unqualified disapproval, and used such boldness, that the king wrote to the speaker complaining of the audacity of the commons, who owed their privileges to the grace and permission of his ancestors and himself, in presuming to meddle with mysteries of state which were beyond their capacity, and belonged solely to the king himself. This produced a memorable protestation on the part of the commons, who declared that their privileges were inviolable and were derived from their ancestors-that it was the right of parliament to deliberate and take counsel on all matters affecting the

peace and safety of the king and kingdom, and that members ought not to be molested for anything done or said within the walls of parliament, except by authority of the house itself. The king was so exasperated with this open defiance of his power, that he tore the entry from the Journals with his own hand, and published his reasons for so doing, at the same time dissolving parliament, and ordering those members who had been foremost in the debate to be committed to prison; others whom he feared to arrest, he sent on a commission to Ireland, by way of punishment.

This, however, was not the first example which this parliament had manifested of an independent spirit. On the opening of the session in 1621, the commons had loudly exclaimed against monopolies, and sir Giles Mompesson and sir Francis Mitchell were deprived of the honour of knighthood, besides being imprisoned and fined; but a more striking example of parliamentary interference was the impeachment of the lord chancellor Bacon, or, as he was now called, viscount St. Alban's. This remarkable man had risen to the highest eminence of position and power by his own exertions; he was equally eminent as a philosopher and a lawyer, one of the brightest ornaments of learning and genius in those days, although his public character was tarnished by the neglect of those moral obligations which ought to have directed him in the discharge of his public duty. On inquiry being made in parliament, he was convicted of receiving bribes in his high office of chancellor, and though his friends pleaded the excuse of precedent, the commons answered "that no precedents could justify so pernicious a practice;" and in default of his appearing, he was condemned to imprisonment, and fined in the sum of £40,000, being further incapacitated from holding any office of dignity or emolument in the state, and interdicted the court and parliament.

In the next parliament, Cranborne, earl of Middlesex, the lord treasurer, was impeached. Buckingham, growing disgusted with the Spanish court, persuaded the king to consent to a war in behalf of the elector-palatine, the king's son-in-law, who had been expelled from his dominions by the emperor Ferdinand II., with the object of obtaining supplies from parliament. The commons readily voted the sum of 300,000 for the accomplishment of this object, which they had long desired; but the preparations were languidly conducted, and the first expedition failed, half the army having perished through famine and pestilence; and before a second armament could be equipped, the king died, on the 27th of March, 1625, leaving the war to be finished by his son Charles I., who succeeded to the throne, his elder brother Henry, prince of Wales, having died in 1612.

The pacific policy of James I., though it contributed in the main to the happiness and prosperity of his subjects, was unfavourable to the glory and honour of the nation. As a king, James wanted talents and energy of disposition: he was dastardly rather than tyrannical, giving way to passion and being governed by favourites. His conduct in the case of Arabella Stuart was cruel and unforgiving; his execution of Raleigh, to gratify a foreign power, pusillanimous and unjust; and his behaviour towards the Somersets inexcusable. The prevailing errors of his reign, however, were of such a nature as to evince them to have been more the result of ignorance than malevolence of purpose: the execution of a pickpocket without trial, on his first entrance into England, and several other acts of similar indiscretion, show how completely he misunderstood the spirit of the government he was called upon to administer. Accustomed to rule a nation in a rude state of society, and acquainted only with the theory of the feudal monarchies, restricted by a turbulent aristocracy, he had no clear perception of the democratical element which entered so largely into the English constitution. "It appears," says Hume, "from the speeches and proclamations of James I., and the whole train of that prince's actions, as well as his son's, that he regarded the English government as a simple monarchy, and never imagined that any considerable part of his subjects entertained a contrary idea. This opinion made those monarchs discover their pretensions, without preparing any force to support them, and even without reserve or disguise, which are always employed by those who enter upon any new project, or endeavour to innovate in any government. The flattery of courtiers further confirmed their prejudices, and, above all, that of the clergy, who, from several passages of Scripture, and those wrested too, had erected a regular and avowed system of arbitrary power." *

*Hume's Essay on the Protestant Succession.


CHARLES I. A. D. 1625-1649.

Reaction under the house of Stuart-Charles I. attempts to render the crown absolute-Discords with his first parliament-English ships employed against Rochelle-Failure of the expedition to Cadiz-Second parliament— The commons refuse unconditional supplies-The earl of Bristol appeals to the lords for his writ of summons-Articles of impeachment against Buckingham - Attempt to govern without parliaments-Illegal taxation-The commons declare all methods of raising money without consent of parliament to be violations of the constitution-Strength of parties-Petition of Rights-The king's insincerity-Assassination of Buckingham - Famous decision of the judges against the employment of torture in the case of Felton-Fourth parliament-Arbitrary encroachments of the crown-The Pilgrim Fathers-Hampden resists the payment of ship-money-Innovations in religion—The country divided into two parties-Attempt to establish episcopacy in Scotland-The Scots renew the Covenant and seize on all the strongholds in their kingdom-Parliament refuses supplies and is dissolved without passing a single Act-Charles assembles an army at York-The long parliament-Bill against illegal taxation-Triennial parliaments— Abolition of the Star Chamber and High Commission Courts-Impeachment of Strafford-Unconstitutional proceedings of parliament-Act against the dissolution of parliament without its own consent-Outrages in Ireland— Question of the militia-Expulsion of the Bishops from the upper houseSchism in the constitutional party-Attempt to seize the five membersCommencement of the Civil War-Violent measures of the commons-Result of the first campaign favourable to the royalists-Battles of Edgehill and Worcester-Opening of a rival parliament at Oxford-The Independents gain the ascendency in the parliament at Westminster-Oliver CromwellSelf-denying ordinance-Battle of Naseby-The king surrenders to the Scottish army at Newark-Dissensions between the parliament and the army-Negotiations for the king's release-Cromwell marches on London -The Scots demand the restoration of the king-Are defeated by Cromwell -The army becomes supreme-The Rump parliament-Rejection of the house of lords-Trial and execution of Charles I.-Causes which contributed to this event-Concluding remarks.

THE reaction which invariably follows a period of great political and mental restraint like that exercised by the Tudors had begun to be perceptible even under James I., in the assertion of privilege and the revival of the right of impeachment, which had been in abeyance since the Lancastrian princes filled the English throne; but almost immediately after the accession of Charles I., the storm, which had been only visible in the distance, began to mutter, and it was soon evident to observant men that the conflict which had begun between the crown and the country under a monarch, on the one hand, rash, presumptuous, and

insincere, and the whole nation on the other, led on by such men as Coke, Wentworth, and Eliot, must soon or late end in a popular victory. The causes which had induced the people to submit to the brilliant tyranny of the Tudors no longer existed: there was no disputed succession, no fear of foreign invasion, and no anxiety for the maintenance of the protestant religion.

At such a time it was that Charles I. undertook the insane design of rendering the crown absolute. Looking to the example of foreign princes, and emulating the conduct of the Tudors, he thought not only to sustain, but even to enlarge the high prerogative which his predecessors had usurped. The people, on the other hand, recovered from the disorders of civil war, and no longer threatened by foreign invasion, demanded the restoration of their ancient liberties, and declared the arbitrary acts of the crown, during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, to have been unjustifiable inroads upon the constitution. Amongst other causes of dispute, Charles I. was desirous of sending aid to his brother-in-law, the elector-palatine, whose cause the commons had so warmly espoused in the preceding reign: but they were not now so certain of the advisability of a war with Spain, more especially as they saw no prospect of its being well conducted; and feared besides that so soon as the king should have obtained a supply, he would dissolve the parliament. They therefore granted two subsidies, £140,000, for the immediate necessities. of the king, and then proceeded to the investigation of abuses. Committees of religion and of grievances were formed, and inquiries instigated concerning the conduct of Buckingham in delivering up the English ships to be employed against Rochelle, which disgraceful transaction had roused the general indignation. The king, fearing for his minister, dissolved the parliament, and without money or resources entered on the war with Spain. By various arbitrary acts, he at length succeeded in equipping a fleet of 90 sail, and an army of 10,000 men; but when the English anchored before Cadiz, they found that the Spaniards had already gained intelligence of their designs, and had removed the shipping from that harbour into safer ports. Having made an unsuccessful attempt on the town, and finding his men ill-disposed to fight in a cause which they did not approve, sir Edward Cecil, who commanded the fleet, weighed anchor, and stood to the westward, hoping to intercept the Plate fleet which had not yet returned from the Indies; but it passed him in the night, and after an absence of three months he returned to Plymouth, having lost above 1000 of his men by famine and disease.

The failure of this expedition was exceedingly mortifying to

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